Travel Insurance

When preparing for your big move overseas the to-do list can often be miles long and travel insurance is often the last thing you get around to! But it's definitely something you should invest some time in so you get a policy that suits your needs.

Do I Really Need Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is not a legal requirement to enter the UK. However, we highly recommend you consider taking out a policy. What should be the experience of a lifetime can all too quickly turn sour if you find yourself in a predicament and are not appropriately covered!

If you paid the International Health Surcharge during the application process of your UK Ancestry or Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa, your medical care in the UK is covered throughout the duration of your Visa. However this doesn't help you should an airline lose your luggage or if your flight is delayed or cancelled!

Let’s start with a common nightmare – the airline loses your bags! This is a great excuse to go shopping when you reach the UK, but it’s going to be costly to replace all the worldly belongings you've brought over for your move. Without travel insurance, the airline will likely shrug their shoulders. You’ll get an apology but you won’t be compensated financially.

Equally important is the fact that travel insurance covers any medical bills you may incur while overseas. The UK provides free healthcare – that’s great. But what happens if you get sick on a layover?

Finally, ask yourself what you’ll do if you miss your flight! Flying across the Atlantic doesn’t come cheap and life sometimes throws unexpected curveballs our way. You could be looking at a very expensive problem if you don’t make your flight and cannot claim a new ticket on insurance.

Who Does BritBound Recommend?

We've found World Nomads to be the best for simple and flexible Travel Insurance. You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home and it covers people from over 130 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers just like you with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

You can grab a quote here:

What Makes the Ideal Travel Insurance Policy?

Before taking out a travel insurance policy, you’ll want to make that it covers everything you need. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Coverage for lost, damaged or delayed luggage. Ensure the policy will cover everything you hold dear. Clothing is one thing, but what about your computer, or important personal documents?
  • Coverage for missed, delayed or cancelled flights. Something may come up making you miss your flight. Travel insurance will help get your airborne without maxing out your credit card. Alternatively, a delay to your flight may end up costing you money. You may be able to claim this back through insurance. Ensure you’ll be reimbursed entirely though, and not just a percentage.
  • Coverage for medical treatment. As we mentioned, the UK will remedy your ailments in a hospital without charge. However, medications, dressings and anything else you may need for aftercare cost money. In addition, you will hopefully be taking advantage of cheap travel and jetting over to Europe while based in the UK. These nations will likely charge for medical care.
  • Coverage for legal costs. Fingers crossed, you won’t get on the wrong of the law while you’re travelling. Different countries have different rules though, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Look for a policy that will pay out in the event of any personal liability claims made against you.
  • An affordable excess. It’s easy to be dazzled by the cheapest possible policy, but these tend to have a very hefty excess. Sometimes it’s better to pay an extra $30 up-front to ensure you’re not $300 out of pocket if something goes wrong.
  • An easy claiming process. Before committing to a particular policy, do some homework. Check reviews, and make sure this particular insurer doesn’t have a reputation for slow payments, or finding excuses not to honour a policy. If you need to make a claim, you’ll be stressed enough. An unhelpful insurer will just add to your anguish.

Can I Avoid Travel Insurance if I Do Everything on My Credit Card?

Using a credit card will offer some measure of protection. If you book your flights on plastic, your credit card issuer will be just as responsible for reimbursing the cost of any cancelled flight as the airline.

One other advantage of using a credit card overseas is that you can avoid carrying cash. This, obviously, takes a weight off your mind. If you lose the equivalent of $500 in cash, it’s likely gone for good.

If you lose your credit card, you can quickly call them to cancel it and issue a replacement – while you’ll theoretically be reimbursed for any activity on the card while it was out of your hands.

This doesn’t mean that you can forego travel insurance if you carry a credit card, though. MasterCard won’t care about your bags being lost somewhere in Singapore.

They’ll cheerfully allow you to charge any medical bills to your account, too. The moment that kind of credit is reached and breached, however, you’ll find that their sympathy runs dry.

Is Travel Insurance Cheaper in the UK or Elsewhere?

When you arrive in the UK, you’ll notice something – travel insurance policies are much cheaper in Britain than many other countries, Naturally this is great news, everybody loves spending money!

Of course, there’s always a catch. Many insurers will not allow a non-British national to take out a travel insurance policy. Those that do will invariably charge more.

This is something that you should research before committing to a travel insurance policy. You may find that you’ll be able to book a cheaper policy for your outbound journey, then take out a new policy once you’ve arrived.

Travel Insurance Tricks – Beware the Small Print!

Insurance companies don’t always have the warmest and fuzziest of reputations, so make sure you read the small print before purchasing a policy. There could be a range of reasons why a company will not pay out – and they’ll make sure they’re legally entitled to withhold the funds.

Common reasons that a travel insurance policy will hold out include:

  • Personal Negligence. If you leave your bags or possessions unattended, even for a moment, you’ll be declare responsible for anything that happens to them. You can only claim them stolen of they are personally taken from you, or lost if you follow all appropriate airline policies.
  • Reckless or Risk-Taking Behaviour. You’re young, you’re healthy and you’re going overseas – you’re going to want to let your hair down. Keep that on the down low if you’re making an insurance claim. Companies can refuse to pay out on your policy if they think you were injured while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or generally taking needless risks.
  • Item Limits. If you have an expensive camera in your baggage worth over $1,000, make sure your policy doesn’t cap their pay-out on single items at $250. Choose a policy that matches the value of your possessions.
  • Undisclosed Information. Honesty is the best policy when taking out a travel insurance policy. If you make a claim and the insurer finds that you have a pre-existing medical condition – even something as seemingly innocuous as asthma – they may refuse to pay on the grounds of non-disclosure.